Europe ‘72: Empire Pool & Newcastle


Season 5, Episode 2

Archival interviews:

-  Rosie McGee, This Is All a Dream We Dreamed, 2015.

-  Phil Lesh & Bob Weir, by David Gans & Marty Martinez, Grateful Dead Hour #369, 9/1995.

JESSE: On April Fool’s Day 1972, the Grateful Dead and three dozen family members departed from John F. Kennedy Airport in New York, bound for London and the Europe ‘72 tour. Joe Smith, the Warner Bros. executive who helped sponsor the tour told Robert Greenfield, “When I sent them to Europe, I wanted to write a book, “How We Did Europe on Five Thousand Dollars a Day.” It would produce one of the classic live albums of all time. Welcome back Mountain Girl.

MOUNTAIN GIRL: We were all on the same big plane. I remember how really taken aback the staff was on the plane, because every five minutes, somebody would be smoking a joint somewhere on the plane, and have to be chastised and talked to sternly [to] behave ourselves. We really had a lot of fun on that flight. There was quite a lot going on. But we did get there — I remember we landed at the first blink of dawn. I think we were in England first, in London.

JESSE: And welcome back Donna Jean Godchaux-MacKay.

DONNA JEAN GODCHAUX-MACKAY: It was a comedy routine. And it was made up of the most different, unpredictable, lovable, unique convergence of people that you could imagine. And even to be in it, you had to be of it. And to be of it, you had to be open, really, to a plethora of universes — and an ability to navigate through all of them. So there was a little bit of sink or swim, with a whole lot of ‘we take care of each other’ — kind of a dichotomy that [was] abounding. But it was all part of the unspoken GD philosophy. It was amazing. The whole thing was amazing. With everything that's been written and said and recorded about it, it's one of those things where you really had to be there. It was amazing.

JESSE: Ben Haller was a member of the new lighting crew, already living in London, where he’d been working at the recently closed Rainbow Theatre, which we heard about last episode.

BEN HALLER: April 1st, they arrive. So I go out to Heathrow. I was a Gatwick boy: I liked to go to Gatwick, it was a much friendlier airport, you could take the train back and forth. Heathrow is [an] insane problem. So I get there — the crew gets off, the passengers get off. I'm going, “okay, the Grateful Dead, they get off now.” A Boy Scout troop gets off. And I'm beginning to think, it's April 1st, maybe I've been pranked. But no, then out comes Pigpen and Jerry and the boys. We had a good laugh about it.

JESSE: Outside, it was Easter Sunday, and it was off to the fabulous Kensington Palace Hotel, across from Kensington Gardens. Also along on the tour were members of the so-called Pleasure Crew, a group of well-to-do Deadheads that sometimes traveled with the band’s inner circle. According to Phil Lesh’s memoir, Searching For the Sound, this included “Marina, an oil heiress from New York. Marina was so used to instant service that when we got to our hotel in London, she mistook Garcia for a bellboy—and imperiously ordered him to bring her luggage in from the bus. Jerry, all-around good guy that he was, never even blinked, and we all cracked up at the sight of him staggering into the lobby loaded down with matching Louis Vuitton suitcases.”

MOUNTAIN GIRL: So everybody landed, we were starving. And we get into this hotel and it's like nine o'clock in the morning. Of course, at that hour, they're not making food — “that’s it, you have to wait.” So Jerry and I went out to the park across the street, which is some well-known gathering place for interesting people, and there [were] a couple of lunch carts out there. This is probably about noon or something like that. We’d been up all night, feeling kind of fuzzy. And the place says “hamburgers” — we go, “Oh, thank God, it’s a place that sells hamburgers!” We’re trottin’ over there, a couple of blocks. [We] pull in there and order two hamburgers. And the guy behind the counter in this trailer-selling thing, and he reaches down into this pot of boiling water and pulls out two large boiled patties of diced ham, and puts them on buns! Nice little English buns, and [he] gives them to us. And we’re going, “What’s this?” We’re looking at each other, going: “HAM-burgers. Okay…” And we paid and left. [laughs] It wasn’t what we were looking for at all. A moment of complete disappointment.

JESSE: Somehow Jerry and Mountain Girl walked right into a Simpsons punchline that didn’t exist for another quarter-century.

PRINCIPAL SKINNER [The Simpsons, Season 7, Ep. 21]: No, no. I said steamed hams.

JESSE: The band made camp at the Kensington Palace Hotel which, in the memorable words of Alan Trist, “held the Dead’s madness in its middle class velvet glove.” The band established its base of operation, Sam Cutler at the helm. On this season of the Good Ol’ Grateful Deadcast, we are slightly dizzy to also be able to really represent Pigpen. Of course, Pigpen died tragically less than a year after the Europe ‘72 tour. On the episode about “Operator” during our American Beauty season, we spoke with Jim Sullivan, aka Sully, the family friend who is the keeper of the archive of the late Ron “Pigpen” McKernan. Part of that archive is a stash of incredibly detailed letters Pigpen sent home to his family. Thank you so, so much for preserving and sharing these, Sully.

SULLY: He was very close with his family — talking about how things were on the road. He actually sounds really kind of lonely. It's just really an interesting side of things that you really don't necessarily think is part of that. Everybody thinks of the rock and roll stars, big drama, dynamic life and trashing rooms and shit like that. But his letters tell a different story.

JESSE: Pigpen had spent much of fall 1971 off the road, recuperating from a perforated ulcer and hepatitis. He’d lost weight and stopped drinking, but his creativity and desire to make music—and be part of the Grateful Dead—only seemed to grow. Over late 1971 and early 1972, he introduced a number of new originals to the band’s repertoire and went deeper than ever into old standbys. One subplot we’ll explore in more depth as we go along this season is how Pigpen was starting to come into his own.

SULLY: “Kensington Palace Hotel. Sunday, April 2 1972 11:30pm. Hi! Safe & somewhat sound in London, the time change is somewhat more drastic than SF-NYC, but we’ve a few days to get used to it … the steam heat don’t work so hot, so they brought up an ‘electric fire’ (heater) & room’s a closet, bed’s a postage stamp, I’m changing tomorrow. We had no trouble with British customs, they just put all the bags on carts & wheeled everything out, no search, nothing. I got searched in NYC because I registered high on their snooper-scope, don’t know why. The weather’s overcast, low 50s. The hotel’s on the west end of Hyde Park in Kensington-Chelsea Area. Tomorrow’s a bank holiday & almost nothing’s open, they’re celebrating Easter Monday. Got a few days to get used to things before playing. British TV stinks & the radio’s piped into the rooms, two channels each, & no rock or pop music, you take it or leave it. … Good time to sleep to adjust to local time. Think I’ll take a hot bath. Tub’s long and deep with a soap rack that crosses from side to side & is movable. … Sam & Garcia have spacious rooms with a view of the park & king size beds (superstars & managers special privileges?), we’ll see, new room for me tomorrow… not king-size, just a plain double. Well, off to the bath. … Later, Ron.”

JESSE: Lots more from Pigpen to come. With the band was their old friend Alan Trist, head of Ice 9 Publishing. It was in Alan’s family flat near Kensington Gardens that Robert Hunter penned the lyrics for “Ripple,” “Brokedown Palace,” and “To Lay Me Down” in one burst in spring 1970, a story we told in our American Beauty season. Alan spent parts of 1971 laying groundwork for Europe ‘72, which we heard about last time. Welcome back, Alan.

ALAN TRIST: Well, the family flat was no more. By 1972, I was two years out from having lived in London — I'd left England, so I definitely stayed in the Kensington Palace Hotel. Sam was the road manager, but I was just kind of an English second-in-command as needed. It was nearly always to do with the press issues, because what I had set up the previous year then started going into action. And in London, there was New Musical Express, Time Out, all of the English underground press, they came down to the hotel. There [were] a couple of days, couple of afternoons of interviews and so on, at that time. I was on the phone to the press. That was what I was doing most of the time. There were other things, because I did have a network in London. The press and the radio people, which were also very much part of the underground music scene at that time. Radio Luxembourg, and the offshore illegal radio stations, and so on.

JESSE: And in fact, the band did have a brand-new single to promote, featuring a brand-new song recorded only a few weeks before their departure at Wally Heider’s in San Francisco. What’s more, for one of the only times in their entire career, the band would play that single nearly every night in the wake of its release and promote it across Europe, on radio and television.

AUDIO: “One More Saturday Night” [Bob Weir, Ace] (0:06-0:36) - [Spotify]

JESSE: As the story goes, when the other members of the Grateful Dead heard that Bob Weir was getting ready to record his solo debut Ace in February 1972, they each individually volunteered to play on it. The album would hit the streets in May as Weir’s solo debut with the Dead as his backing band, but in advance of the tour, Warner Bros. released “One More Saturday Night” as a standalone Grateful Dead single in the UK, France, and Germany, with a b-side of “Bertha,” from 1971’s Skull and Roses. The A-side was credited to the Grateful Dead featuring Bobby Ace. Place a bookmark here. We’ll have to get back to the story of Ace on another day.

AUDIO: “One More Saturday Night” [Bob Weir, Ace] (3:24-3:45) - [Spotify]

JESSE: For a few days, Jerry Garcia, Bob Weir, and Pigpen entertained the press, somewhat unusual for the latter two. Pigpen told Rosalind Russell of Disc, "Garcia generally speaks for all of us because he's the most articulate guy in the group, so what he says goes.”

"It baffles me, the superhero reputation. We keep hearing reports of this, but we've only been here once before and I don't think we sold so many records. We ain't Superstars over in the States. We're just another medium-to-well-known band. We're no Three Dog Night or Creedence. We just consider ourselves general folks."

"Coming to Britain is just an opportunity for us to see Europe,” Pig continued. "I don't personally care if I come home with no money, as long as we cover what we put out. We've been trying to have the ticket prices put down for the concerts here because we don't like to burn people. I don't mind having more dollars in my pocket but that's not primarily our reason for being here."

Pigpen told Mick Farren of the International Times, "Just folks, that's all we can relate to. The songs we play are our history. The American West.”

Jerry Garcia told Rock magazine about the plan for the tour. “We have material that’ll be new here,” he said. “It’s not new to us, we’ve been playing it for a while, but our material starts to get life after we’ve been playing it for a while, but if we play it too long it loses life. There’s a sort of peak optimum, and right now we’re at one of those peaks. We’ve got a lot of brand new material, we have material that’ll be new to…that we’ve never recorded, in fact that’s why we’re recording these tours… Everybody is really on top of it musically — Bob has been writing a lot of good material, Pigpen’s been writing a lot of good songs, and the energy of the piano player and his wife has just been fantastic for us, made it feel really complete.” But it certainly wasn’t all work, as Alan Trist remembers.

ALAN TRIST: People would ask me sightseeing questions, for instance. “What should we see? Where can we go?” The Kensington Palace Hotel was right by the park, and I would take people on walks down to the Serpentine, or perhaps go with them to other museums or things like that.

JESSE: There was softball and baseball in Kensington Gardens, rambles through Portobello Road and Picadilly Circus.

ALAN TRIST: Mary Ann Mayer was on that tour as a photographer. And she was very much part of the Grateful Dead office scene and also one of the originators of the original art light shows in San Francisco.

JESSE: We’re featuring Mary Ann Mayer’s work in our Daily Dose on the Dead’s social media all spring, check it out.

Wembley Pool / Empire Pool

JESSE: Ben Haller helped retrieve the band’s gear.

BEN HALLER: Basically, what you have to do is list every piece of equipment you have. And you put it on something called a carnet. This gets you in and out of every country quickly. Otherwise, you're going to sit there. When I first went to England, I had to go down and stay at the docks — me, alone, all this tons and tons of equipment coming in, and I have to take each piece and show it to the customs. It's a whole insane thing. So sometimes stuff gets held up in customs. Generally, if you have a carnet, you can take it through. It's interesting if you have a box of nails, or a box of bolts or light bulbs or anything. You always get a full box because it's easiest to put on the carnet, rather than saying, “I have 17 nails.” No… that don’t work.

JESSE: And please welcome back Steve Parish.

STEVE PARISH: When we went to Europe, we weren't going without any marijuana, without any cannabis. We had the best cannabis connections in the world, I'm telling you. Everybody brought to the Haight the finest weeds and hash from the world. I knew where every hash came from — the Grateful Dead wrote songs about Red Lebanese; we knew about the Bekaa Valley and the fighting over that, which caused the hash supplies to be cut down. Anyway, we bring our own marijuana.

BEN HALLER: They make big fuses, we have a big 600 amp service. And there's a big fuse for the replaceable link. The fuses are this big. And with a replaceable link, and they screw open and they look really frightening. When you open it and show it to customs, and you sort of stand back a little, they get nervous when you walk in there. So you take the link out of the fuse, and you fill it up with your drugs… or, you put the drugs in a speaker cabinet, and you just take forever to unscrew the bolt that holds the speaker. They don’t bother. We were too weird… we’re too long-haired, they didn’t know what to do with us.

STEVE PARISH: We had this one amplifier, which was one that was just a spare amp that we had. It was really just the top. We took it apart, and we took the transformer out of it and put this box in there — fitted, perfect. And we cleaned up about two pounds of pot and stuffed it in this transformer thing and put it back in there, right? We get to England with our big truck full of our equipment. I'm there at the airport with Kidd, and we're waiting while the customs guys are talking to us and looking at our carnet. The carnet was a big deal. That had to be every piece, every history of it, when we’d bought it — all this shit. Where it came from, where it origin[ated].

They were looking through all that, and they’re looking at all our stuff. We had 70 tons of equipment, just about — we brought a PA and all this stuff over. And so the guy’s looking at it, and he fucking blew my mind. He says, “What's this box, right here?” We had it in a case — and that's the case, that's the one amp! He says, “Pull that out of the truck.” So we pull it out of the truck, and he has me open the case and pull that amp out. I set it on top of the case. They’re looking at it, they’re checking it out. Of all the motherfucking cases to look into — of all of ‘em! They checked it on the carnet, we had it on there, everything was right. I couldn’t believe it. I put it away, and then the guy says to me, “What the fuck are you Yanks doing over here?” I said, “We’re gonna play some rock and roll music!” “What? We don’t fucking need you mothers here, man! We’ve got the Beatles.” He starts on that rap with me, none too friendly. But I couldn’t believe he pulled that one case, but never dreamt of [having] to open the whole thing up, where it was buried in there. But that was amazing.

JESSE: The Dead had been booked to open their tour at the Rainbow Theatre in London, where Pink Floyd had debuted Dark Side of the Moon that February. But by March the venue closed down. Last episode, we discussed how the Rainbow’s struggles had led proprietor John Morris to help create the informal promoters’ alliance that resulted in the Dead’s Europe ‘72 itinerary, with the Dead helping to imprint a new circuit for other acts to follow. But that still left them without a London gig. John Morris remained their UK promoter.

JOHN MORRIS: I mean, we wanted to find a place to put the Dead. I had done a couple of concerts at Wembley, and that's just where we turned. And it turned out to be bigger than we expected — more and more people came. I think Wembley was about four or 5,000 seats.

JESSE: Alan Trist knew the spot.

ALAN TRIST: I remember the Empire Pool. As a kid, I'd been there a few times. It was in the wintertime, it was an indoor skating rink, I remember. So I remember the place — it’s a huge cavernous hall. Somehow, the band and engineers made it sound pretty good.

JESSE: Sam Cutler wasn’t thrilled, but it’d do.

SAM CUTLER: We started off at Wembley, which was a shithole. Wembley was an ice rink built for the 1930s Olympics in London. I can't remember exactly what year it was even… I wasn't alive then. Yeah, it was a crap place. A bit like Winterland, not really the greatest place for music. It turned into a fabulous gig.

JESSE: It was the 1938 Olympics, thanks Sam, then known as Empire Pool and more lately known as Wembley Arena, where the Dead would return in 1990.

MOUNTAIN GIRL: They played this big ice rink, and I remember the ice was on underneath the stage, and under the chairs and stuff like that. It was so cold in there! Really, really chilly. We hadn’t brought our warmies, so it was uncomfortable. I’m telling you — it was really cold in there! They had this floor that rolled out over the ice. Winterland used to be like this, in San Francisco, the place where the band used to play. We weren’t that upset about the ice, except that it was already cold. Everything was so cold. We just did our best.

JESSE: The past month at Empire Pool had seen boxing and badminton championships, a few political rallies, and a concert by T-Rex with Bolanmania then at its full peak. At the Kensington Palace Hotel, the Dead crossed paths with the entourage who performed at Empire Pool immediately prior to them — the 4th annual two-day International Festival of Country Music. It was a pretty all-star lineup featuring Loretta Lynn, Earl Scruggs, the Stonemans, Conway Twitty, and more.

Weir struck up a conversation with some of the touring musicians, which he recounted to the New Musical Express. “We were talking about how many nights a year they work. I was telling them we work 50 nights a year, and they were amazed because they work 150 to 200 nights a year and more. I got the hint that they thought we were really lazy and just laying back and making money off a big name. Then it occurred to me to ask them how long they play every night... 45 minutes. Well, we play about three hours a night, so it works out to about the same. You can't carry on to 150 or 200 nights a year while playing three or four hours a night and expect to survive.”

The Rainbow Theatre had closed down, which left Joe’s Lights, the former Fillmore East light show, adrift in Europe. You couldn’t keep them away from Empire Pool with a tire iron. Welcome back, Allan Arkush.

ALLAN ARKUSH: I remember us being very excited about it. And I remember a bunch of meetings about the stage and how we would be working off a scaffolding that was secured to the stage and having it thrown together pretty quickly. We went down there and set up very early on the day before the concert.

JESSE: What this means in practice is that for the Dead’s two April shows at Empire Pool, they were backed by not just a full Fillmore East-style light show, but the actual Fillmore East light show.

ALLAN ARKUSH: It was not a concert hall; there was no stage there. So all of that had to be built with scaffolding. And the people who did that, I'm guessing, were Chris Langhart, who had designed the Fillmore, essentially, and had been a professor of stagecraft at NYU; John Chester, and both of them… Chris had done the Woodstock Festival, and he had set up the Rainbow Theatre. So he’s who you want there. He was not flaky at all. Did you ever read Uncle Scrooge comics? There was a character who had the second story whose name was Gyro Gearloose, and he was an inventor. That’s Chris Langhart.

I don't remember if it was because the place actually had tile… I'm sure it had tile, because they covered the pool. I'm guessing it was about 6 or 7 or 8,000 people. It had a ceiling that was common in those days, a steel arch structure that was in the style of steel, but somewhat ornate. Since it had been built for the Olympics, they had put some money in it. So it wasn’t like what they would do today, which is just efficiency. There were kind of beams, kind of Erector set sections, above it — going all the way back, to hold up the ceiling. Because British laws, concerning safety of buildings and all that stuff, are ridiculously over the top. So that would be what was up there which, thank God, it saved the day.

JESSE: On 6 April, the day before the first show, the Grateful Dead convened at Empire Pool for a soundcheck and rehearsal through their vaunted Alembic sound system.

ALLAN ARKUSH: They set up their equipment, and we're all excited. They start to play, and the sound was dreadful. When they rehearsed, it was like immediately a meeting on the stage, that afternoon — like, “What are we going to do?” Because it was the Grateful Dead singing in the shower. It was really unlistenable. It would have been [Dan] Healy, definitely [Bob] Matthews, John Chester and Chris Langhart, etc.

The decision had been made that the only thing that could save the place was to baffle it — to hang curtains. This is not the days of cell phones, or anything. So, they knew where you could rent theatrical curtains. They went to rent every theatrical curtain that they could, and hang them against the back wall, hang them above—these guys were so smart—figure out how low that they could go so that, if you were in the back, you still could see the top of the stage, but higher than that so it wasn’t intrusive. At some point, they did not get enough of them. They needed more. So they had them hung, and I guess it was another soundcheck, and they felt that it was working, but they needed more. But they had every curtain. That’s when someone came up with the idea of going to Army Navy places and getting parachutes. I don't know how that came about — but that was fucking genius. So they brought all these parachutes. Now, every time you hung this stuff, you had to climb up huge ladders, or go up into the ceiling and send down ropes and everything. And so you needed all this rope and pulleys and everything. So this is all being done ‘round the clock. When they put up the parachutes and we stood on the stage and looked out, it was phenomenal looking — because the curtains were dark in the back, and the parachutes were light. And it would not be surprising to me if they didn't realize the color of the parachutes, being theater people, and kept them in groupings — whatever the slight difference of color was, these are all basically white. You looked out, and it looked amazing. It looked like a sheik’s tent or something — it no longer looked like Wembley at all. If you were in the back, and I didn't spend much time back there, your point of view was like Cinemascope. It had been baffled, and you could see the edges of all the white stuff. When they started to play, it was a world of difference.

MOUNTAIN GIRL: We kept getting lost in the curtains in there. It was very difficult to navigate because they insisted on keeping the curtains closed while they were doing the setup. We'd have to take pieces of equipment up to the stage and set them on the lip of the stage. And then somebody would come out from behind the curtains and take it. While we're doing that, I'm just sitting there — I was between runs, or I was done, and I noticed this guy come in. And he just walked straight up to the stage, he picked up one of the pieces of gear, and walked straight to the back of the building with somebody’s amp. It was headed out the door — he was stealing it. It was completely wide open. And I thought, “Oh, we’ve got to get used to this. This is a different country. Things work differently here.” And the guys caught [him] — I pointed him out and they were able to retrieve their amplifier. But it was so open.

JESSE: While the band was getting settled and soundchecking, so was their recording crew. They’d come to Europe to make a righteous live album, and that started with a righteous recording set up. Please welcome back Janet Furman of Alembic.

JANET FURMAN: We rented a truck, and we unpacked all our equipment into the truck — tried to set it up as best we could, make it a little bit homey. We put up some drapes inside to make a better acoustic environment. We had a little black and white closed-circuit TV monitor that we could put the camera on stage so we could see what was going on there. Typically, we would—the three of us who are the recording crew—would be in that truck, which would be parked somewhere in an alley behind the venue and we would just be connected through a snake for the microphones and a power cable and the closed-circuit TV feed. We weren't actually there at the concert. We were watching this on our little tiny black and white TV.

We had to keep it closed up because there were a lot of people surging around backstage there. We didn't want them coming in. So we had to kind of try to keep it private. We did have a carpenter that came in and did stuff like anchor the 16-track to keep it from moving around; built a floor so that everything was kind of the same level; built us a table. It made it kind of a more comfortable environment. The truck wasn’t designed to be a recording truck, but it was an improvised recording truck that worked pretty well.

We had a big step down transformer that we carried in the truck so we could convert 240 to the 120 that we needed. Then there was also the issue of the blind frequency which is 50 hertz and we needed 60 hertz. And so we had prepared for that. Ron Wickersham had built a 60 hertz crystal oscillator to use as a very stable 60 hertz reference. Then we used a Mcintosh tube amp to amplify that, and then took a tap off the output transformer that gave us 120 volts at 60 hertz. That was enough power to run our truck.

JESSE: Grateful Dead archivist and legacy manager David Lemieux.

DAVID LEMIEUX: The sound quality of them, start to finish — incredibly few sonic anomalies. The first night, which you'd expect—they’d just flown in, they got this whole, they had to build a recording truck, it was [Dennis “Wiz” Leonard] doing that—the first night, I think one song was missing, and I think one song only half of it was recorded. I think “Big Boss Man” was only half and “Casey Jones” simply wasn't recorded. In addition to all the multitrack, there are also 2-track recordings of most of the shows — I think all of them, if not most of them. So in a couple of cases, we could fix a cut with the 2-track. I don't think we did that that much, because these big reels ran at an hour and 35 minutes. But they only had one machine, so there was no overlap on the multitrack. In later years and without a net, for instance, they would run two 24-track machines. So, as one reel was about to end at the hour-long mark, about three minutes before it ended, they'd hit record on the second deck. So if they wanted to ever use that song, there'd be overlap. That didn't happen in Europe 72.

JESSE: The tape was ready to roll, the band was almost ready to play for a new audience. We did our best to find Dead Heads, Dead freaks, and unaffiliated heads who saw the band on the Europe ‘72 tour. If you saw the band during this tour, and the episode about that show hasn’t been posted yet, there’s probably still time for you to record your story for us at For 17-year-old Bob White, seeing the Dead at Empire Pool was truly a local gig.

BOB WHITE: We could actually see Wembley Stadium from the front window of our house. And it was about three miles or less to Wembley. In those days, buying a ticket four days beforehand through the post wouldn't have been viable. We weren't telephoning bookings. So yeah, I probably went up there. My dad may have even taken me in the car.

I didn't have any friends that liked the Dead. I seem to remember around then Grand Funk were coming in, Grand Funk Railroad and a few other British bands, like Genesis and Yes. There wasn’t anybody that really were into the Dead that I knew. Which is still fairly true. But Dead Heads bump into each other every so often.

CHRIS JONES: I got into the Dead around about ‘67, ‘68. When their first album came out, a few tracks were played on John Peel’s show on the pirate radio stations we used to have then. The BBC wouldn’t touch anything like that at the time. He played stuff like that. That’s when I started liking it a bit. But there’s a lot of competition — the Dead’s first album wasn’t the best of their releases. But that got me into it a bit. Then when Anthem of the Sun came out, it just blew my head off. It really, totally did.

JESSE: Adam Gotley.

ADAM GOTLEY: All we really ever got were occasional articles in the British music press, which wasn't terribly West Coast orientated. So it was all kind of very mysterious until the Dead Head organizations were set up, which was a little bit after that. So it was kind of like, “Oh, my God, they're coming over.” It was — ah, yeah, we’ve got to get in on this.

JESSE: Chris Jones.

CHRIS JONES: I would have gone by a combination of bus and what we call the Underground, the Tube. One of the things about that, when you're traveling on a public transport system, is that as you get nearer the venue, it fills up with the heads. You get more and more, so you get more of a feel that you're into something exciting.

JESSE: Bob White.

BOB WHITE: Wembley itself is a sort of busy town urban area. But there was this part that was built for a big exhibition in the 1920s. The stadium was there, and then they cleared around the stadium and built Empire Pool. It is quite spacious because apart from anything else, they’ve got a big car park there. And it then leads off into what they call the leafy suburbs — streets and parks and things like that. So yeah, quite an open area, close to the busy town of Wembley itself.

JESSE: Chris Jones didn’t have tickets, but it wasn’t a problem, though the show was seated and wasn’t general admission.

CHRIS JONES: Got them on the door. It was a fairly big stadium — the Dead weren't that well-known. So it would have been full, but it wouldn't have been bulging at the seams. There were a lot of people there, I remember that. But I don’t think I had any difficulty getting in. The second night, I probably bought a ticket on the same day. Got for the next night too.

I was living in South London at the time, and it was a comparatively easy journey. You could do it, go and see the show, and then come back home, rather than having to camp out or anything. So a group of us went up to see them, we had seats. And it was an absolutely awful venue. It really was.

Night 1

JESSE: You can forgive Sam Cutler for sounding a little less than energetic by the time the Dead began their Europe ‘72 tour at Empire Pool on 7 April.

SAM CUTLER [4/7/72]: Well, we’ve been trying to get here for a long, long time, and we eventually, finally, made it. Please welcome the Grateful Dead — the Grateful Dead.

AUDIO: “Greatest Story Ever Told” [Europe ‘72: The Complete Recordings, Vol. 1, 4/7/72] (0:00-0:30) - [Spotify] [YouTube]

JESSE: And so they were off, charging into Europe with “Greatest Story Ever Told,” a Bob Weir/Robert Hunter joint destined for Weir’s soon to be released Ace, written around the rhythm of the pump at Mickey Hart’s barn, and recently reconfigured for the Dead around Garcia’s bouncing wah-wah guitar.

AUDIO: “Greatest Story Ever Told” [Europe ‘72: The Complete Recordings, Vol. 1, 4/7/72] (4:33-5:02) - [Spotify] [YouTube]

JESSE: One thing we discovered in Mary Ann Mayer’s tour photos is that the show marked the debut of part of Jerry Garcia’s brand-new Nudie Suit, by famous Hollywood tailor Nudie Cohn. As part of our Daily Dose over on Grateful Dead social media, we’ve posted a cool shot of Jerry in his Nudie Suit pants from the tour opener at Empire Pool. Adam Gotley.

ADAM GOTLEY: The acoustics there are pretty awful. My memory is they had some tie-dye parachute silks, hanging from the ceilings trying to break the echo up.

JESSE: Chris Jones.

CHRIS JONES: Wembley Stadium was terrible. It was made for ice hockey and swimming. So it's concrete. You can imagine the acoustics — absolutely awful, even with a Grateful Dead sound system. And it was perhaps okay if you're sitting in the front, or just in front of the stage. I was sitting at the other side, on some tiered concrete banks. So it sounded muddy, it sounded echoey. It was awful. But it was good: it was an experience. It was really, really amazing. It just blew my mind. Back then, I'd get off listening to 7-inch records playing on a jukebox or something, with a crap sound system, crap speakers. You can still pick out the music, you would just discern it. And that's what happened with Wembley Stadium I guess — you picked out the bits that you wanted to hear. I mean, we're all stoned out of our heads. So we just got off on the music.

JESSE: Tour architect Sam Cutler.

SAM CUTLER: Nobody, really, in the hall knew very much about the Grateful Dead. The Grateful Dead came out and started playing and, within five minutes, [had] blown everybody's mind. The Brits were all standing there with their jaws like this. It was a great reaffirmation. I’d spent a long time telling people in England how fucking far out the Grateful Dead were. People would go, “yeah, yeah, yeah, a bunch of stoned hippies. Well, we all like getting stoned. This’ll be pretty good.” But once they heard the Grateful Dead lice they were like, “yeah, it’s beyond description.” People just didn't have the words really, to sum up what they thought about it.

JESSE: David Lemieux.

DAVID LEMIEUX: The Wembley shows, I think, are a statement. They're just as strong as they would be right in the middle of the tour, and just as strong as they would be on 5/26, widely considered one of the best Dead shows ever. And that's the last night of the tour.

JESSE: Until the release of Steppin’ Out with the Grateful Dead in 2002, good quality recordings of the tour opener had never circulated among collectors.

DAVID LEMIEUX: When we started working on Steppin’ Out, we put up 4/7. That big “Truckin’” “Other One” jam, it shocked me how good it was on the first night of the tour. That's when I really realized that it wasn't just the shows we knew that were good. Oftentimes, that's what happens, the best shows get leaked out of the vault. In this case, here's the Dead with an underrated show that nobody knows about. There's nothing… I don't even know if there was an audience tape of 4/7. It was monumental. One of the best shows I’d ever heard.

JESSE: Chris Jones.

CHRIS JONES: I lived in London and it's like any big new major conurbation, there's always something happening. So I mean, at the time, bands were big, but there was a band called Free who had a big hit over here with “All Right Now.” [sings the song’s hook]

AUDIO: “All Right Now” [Free, Fire and Water] (0:48-0:56) - [Spotify]

CHRIS JONES: The Who, saw The Who. I saw the Stones in the park. I saw Cream, I saw Blind Faith. I just saw tons and tons of bands — whenever I could, I’d go and see music. But there wasn't the same crowd, there wasn't the same numbers, and there wasn't the same feeling of togetherness, if you like, community, that you got a Grateful Dead show.

JESSE: Bob Hearne left us a story at

BOB HEARNE: I got on the Bus officially on the 7th of April 1972, sitting in block B, row 14, seat 17 at the Empire Pool in Wembley — the first show of the Europe ‘72 tour. I remember [it] well, Bobby introducing Donna Jean at the start of the second set, “Playing in the Band.” “This is Donna,” says Bobby, to which she replied, “Howdy.” Long pause, followed by, “...y’all.”

BOB WEIR [4/7/72]: This here’s Donna.

DONNA JEAN GODCHAUX [4/7/72]: Howdy. Y’all…

BOB HEARNE: That is how my pal Steve and I used to greet each other for years. This was always followed by fits of laughter.

JESSE: And there was of course new keyboardist Keith Godchaux. He’d never been intended as a replacement for Pigpen, and—like Garth Hudson and Richard Manuel in The Band—held musical space for each other. They were also close. Donna Jean Godchaux-Mackay.

DONNA JEAN GODCHAUX-MACKAY: Complementary. And Keith loved it, he loved Pigpen too. We were just big Pigpen fans, still are.

CHRIS JONES: With the Grateful Dead, it was always a little bit different because they seemed… more committed hippies. Particularly things like the Rolling Stones, that would attract a wide segment of the youth population. But with the Grateful Dead, it was really stone-dead hippies who came along. There was a bit more of a brotherhood between everybody, and I think you always felt it was—or I did, anyway— that I was much more relaxed there. You didn't have to worry about people fighting or anything like that. It was all “Love and peace, man,” and getting very, very stoned out of our heads. That's what we liked to do back then.

JESSE: In a review in the underground newspaper International Times, Mick Farren noted that “the triumphal first half ending 'Casey Jones' was treated as an anthem rather than a warning, repeating the chorus over and over with Joe's Lights projecting the lyrics on to the back stage screen, and lacking only a bouncing spot to give it the full seaside-concert party, pier pavilion atmosphere.” Actually, there was a bouncing spot. Allan Arkush of Joe’s Lights.

ALLAN ARKUSH: God who remembered this… holy shit. This is the only time that there was ever tension between the Dead roadies and the Light Show. We thought it would be really cute, because it was such a big hit, [to have] the words “Riding that train, high on cocaine” — “Casey Jones.” Tom Shoesmith had this mirror that he could bend, and he’d aim something on it. Could be a snowflake, it could be anything. He could move it like a bird, and he was moving it from word to word, tumbling and so forth. At some point, the roadies noticed that we had “cocaine” on the screen — and they got really pissed off. They said, “Take that down, are you guys crazy?” So we took down the verse with the cocaine. But we left the other stuff, and they got even more angry. They said, “We’re not fucking around here!” It would have been Ramrod or Jackson. Probably Jackson, because… he was, like, titular head along with Ramrod. It only happened for about half of a song. I can’t believe someone remembers that besides me! I was the guy who they had to talk to.

JESSE: Mick Farren, the former leader of the underground rock band the Deviants who would launch an influential career as a science fiction writer the next year, wrote of the first night, “It is hard to talk about a band that one moment is being led by Garcia to sounds that are a part of pink padded tunnels that spiral down through the back byways of consciousness, and, moments later, follows Bob Weir, breaking into the John Wayne jukebox reality of Marty Robbins' 'El Paso' … It would have been nice to have grown up with the acid test band, particularly as there is the sneaking suspicion that if the first London acid had been dropped watching them rather than cerebrally isolating the Pink Floyd, we might be a stronger community.”

It didn’t go over with everybody. Jon Savage, who would become the preeminent punk historian later wrote, “Me and my friends wanted to be little hippies, we were very much into the whole idea of the West Coast, playing for the people, free concerts and festivals. And of course, it was ruined by seeing the Grateful Dead at the Empire Pool. They were completely boring. I wanted proper bloody space rock, I didn't want them doing ‘Johnny B. Goode’, for fuck's sake!” They didn’t do “Johnny B. Goode” at Empire Pool, but point taken.

The Dead woke up to a review in the Guardian that concluded, “it is often argued that they are the best live band in America, and last night it was easy to understand why – they can swoop back over the past 15 years of American musical history and blend what they find into their long varied songs.”

The good heads in the Dead’s tape vault have shared some images of the original reels for the tour, and it was a surprise to find a track list for the first night written out in Jerry Garcia’s handwriting. Check it out on Dead social media as part of the Deadcast’s Daily Dose.

Night 2

ALLAN ARKUSH: The first night sounded okay, considering what the night before [had sounded like]. But by the second night, they had it down.

JESSE: The second night at Empire Pool—8 April 1972—is now considered one of the classic Dead shows. The same could be said of nearly every show on this tour and might be, but right now we’re talking about 8 April and—like Johnny Rotten said—we mean it, man. Bob White.

BOB WHITE: There was a lot of dope going round. It was still the days when you could smoke cigarettes in a big venue. It was a lot of fog, as it might be, smoke in the air. But everybody was happy — they were all glad to be there. It was a big thing, seeing the Dead. It was only the second night of the tour. It just blew me away. It was an experience that in many ways I don't like — even today, I don't like big gigs. But somehow Empire Pool, especially as I wasn't too far from the stage, was a good venue.

JESSE: What’s more, Bob kept a journal at the time.

BOB WHITE: My average entry was about a fifth of a page, and the Dead got four pages of write up, plus an extra one the day after, plus a very naive picture of them that I drew a couple of days later.

JESSE: We’ll let Bob and his journal narrate some of this show.

BOB WHITE: “After a certain amount of tuning up, and as the hall was engulfing the late arrivals came the announcement we'd all been waiting for: ‘The Grateful Dead.’”

SAM CUTLER [4/8/72]: Friends, the Grateful Dead.

BOB WHITE: “And to get off to a rocking start, there was an improved version of ‘Bertha,’ as the lights danced behind the stage and the sellout audience viewed in anticipation.”

AUDIO: “Bertha” [Europe ‘72: The Complete Recordings, Vol. 2, 4/8/72] (0:45-1:10) - [Spotify] [YouTube]

BOB WHITE: “It is very apparent that Garcia prefers to play his incredible pieces in the shadow of rhythm guitarist Bob Weir, who shares the vocals with Pigpen for the most part.”

AUDIO: “Black Throated Wind” [Europe ‘72: The Complete Recordings, Vol. 2, 4/8/72] (1:03-1:27) - [Spotify] [YouTube]

JESSE: Adam Gotley.

ADAM GOTLEY: We weren't that far from the stage, and what struck me seeing Pigpen was how emaciated he looked, compared with photographs I'd seen of him in previous years. And of course, tragically, this was his last tour. But my god, what good form he was in. What really good form — his voice was on, certainly of every show I’ve heard, he was there.

AUDIO: “Next Time You See Me” [Europe ‘72: The Complete Recordings, Vol. 2, 4/8/72] (0:00-0:30) - [Spotify] [YouTube]

JESSE: Bill Giles.

BILL GILES: The memories I have that aren't tape-aided—real memories from there, that haven’t depended on the recordings—the first half-dozen or so songs, it was all good stuff. My head was still on my shoulders. And then they hit “Cumberland Blues”: just the energy, the electric guitars, the fire with which that took off, just was completely knockout. It’s the version on the Europe ‘72 album.

“Cumberland Blues”

AUDIO: “Cumberland Blues” [Europe ‘72] (0:00-0:21) - [] [Spotify] [YouTube]

JESSE: The first song on the first side of the first LP of Europe ‘72, “Cumberland Blues,” was recorded at the tour’s first stop — the second night at Empire Pool. This season, when we reach the shows where the album’s songs were recorded, we’ll stop to discuss both the recording and the songs themselves. We are very thankful we had several opportunities to interview Bob Matthews before his passing last year. Europe ‘72 came up a few times, naturally.

BOB MATTHEWS: Before Skull and Roses and Europe ‘72, Live/Dead was what started it. The idea was, again, each source—a microphone, a guitar, whatever it was—had one electric source, and then was transmitted to its appropriate track on the multitrack in the back of the truck. There was no interference, as far as phase or any other confusion. And it made perfect sense. The most important thing was that it made the music sound like it should.

JESSE: While Bob worked the front of house on Europe ‘72, out in the recording truck were Betty Cantor, Dennis Leonard, known as Wizard, and Janet Furman.

JANET FURMAN: Along with the idea of taking a minimalist approach to recording was not to use a recording board but to just try to do everything as direct-to-tape as possible. So, for example, there were no mic preamps; instead, each channel of the 16-track had an octal socket that we plugged in there, a step-up transformer that served the purpose of stepping up the mic levels to be hot enough to record on tape. So there was no preamp noise, no headroom issues.

It was all passive and everything went directly to tape. Wizard, he was kind of the tape librarian.

JESSE: David Lemieux.

DAVID LEMIEUX: Because there's so much real estate on the can—a big white label—I think it was primarily Dennis Leonard, Wiz, did the labeling. And he also did doodles, he did some incredible little doodles beside them. After they had finished the tour, the tapes went [back] to Alembic. Jerry was the kind of band member in charge of listening, but Wiz was also listening, and I guess Bob and Betty.

JANET FURMAN: We listened to the concert as it was happening, and we recorded everything on… we did a rough mix for listening in our truck, and we recorded that on Revox 2-track. I think we also recorded cassettes. I have no idea what may have happened to those cassettes, but we did have rough mixes — that was a little bit easier. We’d get those live, and Betty would probably have been the one to keep an eye on that.

DAVID LEMIEUX: Wiz had this little star ranking system. You'd see an entire tracklist on a can, and there’ll be no stars — and you’re like, okay, so it certainly doesn’t mean it’s bad; it just doesn’t mean it’s record-worthy. And then you’d get some things with one star and then two. Honestly, they were very conservative with the ranking system. None of the big jams were given three stars. I think that was kind of a more subjective thing, where they chose the right songs, the “Truckin’” and the “Epilogue” and the “Prelude” surrounding the “Morning Dew” the “Truckin’.” So none of the big jams were given three stars. I don’t think “Dark Star”s and “[The] Other One”s. I think every night, every version was three stars, I would say honestly. There’s no duds of those things.

JESSE: At the end of the tour, all the starred recordings were assembled onto mixes. We’ll flag those performances as we go as well. Mostly, the band was seeking out performances of their newest songs, with a few exceptions. The “Cumberland Blues” from Empire Pool is the only starred version from the tour. Leading off side B of 1970’s Workingman’s Dead, we went way deep into “Cumberland Blues” during our season about that album, and we’ll refer you back there for a fuller conversation about the song. Musically, “Cumberland Blues” had changed in some important ways since its first recording almost exactly two springs earlier. The prototype for the so-called Bakersfield Dead sound, the original recording featured Bob Weir on acoustic guitar and Jerry Garcia on electric lead.

AUDIO: “Cumberland Blues” [Workingman’s Dead] (0:15-0:40) - [] [Spotify] [YouTube]

JESSE: And, by the end, featured Jerry Garcia on banjo and David Nelson of the New Riders of the Purple Sage on high-speed flat-picked acoustic guitar.

AUDIO: “Cumberland Blues” [Workingman’s Dead] (2:30-3:00) - [] [Spotify] [YouTube]

JESSE: The acoustic performances from 1970 actually did try to mimic this somewhat, minus the banjo, with David Nelson often joining on acoustic guitar and Garcia switching to fingerpicked electric to mimic the banjo. By 1972, the song was fully electric, driven largely by Phil Lesh’s bass. In fact, when played over the years, the tune would often fall outside the range of the usual pattern of alternating songs between Jerry Garcia and Bob Weir, and I’ve sometimes thought of Phil’s bass as the song’s true lead voice.

AUDIO: “Cumberland Blues” [Europe ‘72] (0:39-1:09) - [] [Spotify] [YouTube]

JESSE: The vocals on the Europe ‘72 version of “Cumberland Blues” are overdubbed, all of them. Often, the lead vocalist would overdub their new vocal on a spare track on the tape, leaving the original intact. In fact, it seems as if “Cumberland Blues” was the first song the band worked on when assembling the album as well, with Garcia adding a lead vocal on July 3rd, 1972, back home at Alembic in San Francisco, in the same room they’d recorded the song originally. Weir and Lesh overdubbed new vocals on July 31st, with Garcia then singing another vocal over his original. So even on Europe ‘72: The Complete Recordings box set, all of the “Cumberland Blues” vocals were added later, but those are the only overdubs, a crackling document of the group dynamic in April 1972. Look ma, no banjo!

AUDIO: “Cumberland Blues” [Europe ‘72] (4:54-5:24) - [] [Spotify] [YouTube]

JESSE: Of course, there was something strangely powerful about the Dead planting their deeply American folk roots in London and then putting them on a live album titled Europe ‘72. We are very happy to welcome to the chorus the eminent music writer, lyricist, and scholar Ken Hunt, who would go on to conduct deeply informed interviews with Jerry Garcia, Robert Hunter, Mickey Hart, and many others as editor of the British publication Swing 51.

KEN HUNT: There were a group of friends who went to both of the gigs. For the Wembley [gig], I got righteously prepared. So I went on a combination of psilocybin, mescaline, and a rather fine Pakistani hashish eaten on orange slices. So, it would be helpful to have someone to make sure I got back home Oh yes, it was a long way from anywhere I knew. It wasn't London as I knew it, Jim. The thing that struck me was I was very—I like to think—attuned to the lyrics. In some ways, the way I approached the Grateful Dead was through the lyrics. There came a point when Hunter's lyrics were very, very interesting. And I would say that was mainly with the Workingman's Dead period, when there [were] some very interesting resonances in those songs, which rang little bells for me, with someone from a folk background. At that time, there was no way of knowing what these things were about, especially at an ocean removed. When I interviewed Hunter in London, because he was living in London, I remember saying, “You know, ‘Buck dancer’s choice,’ what are you referring to?”

AUDIO: “Uncle John’s Band” [Workingman’s Dead] (0:45-0:58) - [] [Spotify] [YouTube]

KEN HUNT: And he fetched me the guitar, and played me a snatch of it.

AUDIO: “Buck Dancer’s Choice” [New Lost City Ramblers, Gone to the Country] (0:00-0:23) [Spotify]

JESSE: That was the New Lost City Ramblers version of “Buck Dancer’s Choice,” from 1963’s Gone to the Country.

KEN HUNT: Then he was talking about the New Lost City Ramblers, and things started to mesh. But it was not knowing whether these references were deliberate or accidental, or if I’m mishearing. So I was going to those concerts with my ears really reaching to listen. Imagine hearing something like “Brown-Eyed Women.”

AUDIO: “Brown-Eyed Women” [Europe ‘72: The Complete Recordings, Vol. 2, 4/8/72] (0:31-0:53) - [Spotify] [YouTube]

KEN HUNT: Was it “Brown-Eyed Woman,” or what was that line? It doesn’t matter… it’s a story, a little narrative tale. It could have been out of Steinbeck or something. Some Depression-era, a Dust Bowl ballad or something. I tried to make out anything in this song, hoping I was getting some of it, but it was [the] first pass. I heard that song, and really enjoyed it. But I had to wait for the album to come out before I could actually get into it.

JESSE: Another song that might fall into that category in that set is “Tennessee Jed,” a 4-star performance according to the team in the recording truck, the only other song from Empire Pool besides “Cumberland Blues” to warrant a rating.

AUDIO: “Tennessee Jed” [Europe ‘72: The Complete Recordings, Vol. 2, 4/8/72] (4:02-4:32) [Spotify] [YouTube]

JESSE: Actually, that’s not totally true. Rewind momentarily.

[sound of tape rewinding]

BOB WEIR [4/8/72]: Now what I think I’ll do is I’ll take this opportunity to tell you all a story…

JESSE: That’s Bob Weir leading into what Dead Heads refer to as the Yellow Dog Joke, a winding story Weir would employ to kill time. In the case of the starred version of the Yellow Dog Joke, it came immediately following “Cumberland Blues” — meaning that, somewhere on the Europe ‘72 take of “Cumberland Blues,” what became the opening track of the album, Jerry Garcia pops a string. Can you find it? Perhaps due to the situation, this version of the Yellow Dog Joke earned rare musical accompaniment from Weir’s bandmates.

AUDIO: “The Yellow Dog Story” [Europe ‘72: The Complete Recordings, Vol. 2, 4/8/72] (0:57-1:27) - [Spotify] [YouTube]

BOB WEIR [4/8/72]: There was this fella sittin’ down the bar with a big, black, slick, mean-lookin’ dog. Now, the fella down the other side of the bar with a short, fat, squat, ugly little yeller dog said nothin’. But the guy with the big, black, slick, mean-lookin’ dog looked down the bar at the guy with the short, fat, squat, ugly little yellow dog, and said, “Hey, that sure is an ugly little dog ya got there, mister! All short, fat, squat, ugly and yeller…”

JESSE: And, indeed, this version of the “Yellow Dog Joke” is excellent, thanks for noting it Wiz! The joke’s origins are murky, obviously, but since we’re the Deadcast, we’ll refer you to the Journal of American Folklore, Vol. 76, No. 299, and Jan Harold Brunvand’s article, “A Classification For Shaggy Dog Stories” where the Yellow Dog Joke receives the classification of B100.1, with a citation for a 1960 issue of Boys Life, though Google Books now shows some earlier reference. In Brunvand’s system, it is cross-filed by its punchline.

AUDIO: “The Yellow Dog Story” [Europe ‘72: The Complete Recordings, Vol. 2, 4/8/72]

(2:50-3:06) - [Spotify] [YouTube]

BOB WEIR [4/8/72]: Yeah, well, it used to be an alligator before I cut his tail off and painted him yeller…

JESSE: Wakka wakka wakka. Now back to Bob White’s journal.

BOB WHITE: “‘Playing in the Band’ was extended brilliantly by an incredible guitar jam. All along the magic piano of Godchaux tinkled marvelously. But it was a night for the guitars, mainly Garcia’s.”

AUDIO: “Playing in the Band” [Europe ‘72: The Complete Recordings, Vol. 2, 4/8/72] (4:50-5:20) - [Spotify] [YouTube]

JESSE: Chris Jones.

CHRIS JONES: In the interval, I think on the second night, a guy came ‘round selling an underground magazine called Oz. There was an issue called School Kids Oz, which was issue number 28. And it was deemed to be pornographic, and not being allowed to be carried by the post office. So you couldn't post it. Eventually, the guys who ran Oz were put in prison briefly for it. Anyway, I swapped a bit of dope for a copy of ours. I mean hash, not junk. So I got that as a takeaway as well. That still sort of reinforces that show: ‘I was at that show.’

JESSE: I love that little bit of underground commerce — hash for an underground magazine. It was time for set 2.

BOB WHITE: “‘Truckin’’ also involved great improvisation, and ‘[Big] Railroad Blues’ could never have been better.”

AUDIO: “Big Railroad Blues” [Europe ‘72: The Complete Recordings, Vol. 2, 4/8/72] (3:09-3:38) - [Spotify] [YouTube]

JESSE: But there was one song that hung in the air. Adam Gotley.

ADAM GOTLEY: I was only 17, but I was old enough to work out the music was changing very rapidly. You only have to listen to Aoxomoxoa and Live/Dead and then listen to Workingman’s and American Beauty. Obviously, there was a hell of a lot of new material on that tour that we’d never heard before. All the stuff, a lot of it appeared on Europe ‘72, like “Jack Straw” and “Tennessee Jed” etcetera, etcetera. Ace hadn't quite come out, so Weir’s songs that we didn’t know, apart from “Playing in the Band.” The one thing I really wanted to hear was “Dark Star,” that we get a good “Dark Star.”

JESSE: Bill Giles.

BILL GILES: A friend of mine turned me on to Live/Dead in early 1970, and that was it, really. I’d never heard anything like it. The wonders of rock chamber music, if you like, with “Dark Star” — the beauty of the sound of Garcia’s guitar, the improvisation. I hadn’t heard a lot of improvisation at that point. Most bands didn’t really do it. I was into jazz, and indeed, I saw Miles Davis in late ‘71.

BOB WHITE: “Many people have been calling for some of the old songs. And to my amazement, the Dead obliged when the incredible 40-minute version of “Dark Star,” culminating in “Sugar Magnolia.” And from then on in, it was one hell of a jam.

JESSE: Everybody seems to be ready, are you ready?

AUDIO: “Dark Star” [Europe ‘72: The Complete Recordings, Vol. 2, 4/8/72] (0:37-0:50) [Spotify] [YouTube]

JESSE: Please welcome back to the Deadcast, our esteemed Dark Star correspondent Graeme Boone, musicology professor from Ohio State University.

GRAEME BOONE: They're taking it pretty fast —there's a lot of energy here. They're a little out of tune, although that will get better, and it's actually going to slow down quite a bit as we go. Here's the beautiful “Dark Star” progression, and Jerry kind of started off, right away, with a solo.

Sometimes he waits. Bob starts going into another harmony—right there, beautiful—leaving the “Dark Star” progression for a second, the E minor chord, and then returning to the “Dark Star” progression.

JESSE: Graeme annotated versions of “Dark Star” last season in our St. Louis 1972 and 1973 episodes, and he’s going to talk us through every version of “Dark Star” on the Europe ‘72 tour. On April 8th, he’ll do a complete presentation on the 50th anniversary of this classic version of Empire Pool, which will be available to stream thereafter.

GRAEME BOONE: Interesting, really quick triplets from Jerry— one, two, three, one, two, three, one, two, three, one, two, three—in keeping with the swing rhythm that marks the beginning of this jam.

JESSE: The Dead themselves recognized very quickly that the Empire Pool version of “Dark Star” was special. After the original “Dark Star” single in 1968 and the Live/Dead version in 1969, Empire Pool would become the third officially released “Dark Star” before 1972 was over, a story we’ll get into in another episode. As this “Dark Star” gets going, please also keep in mind that it was accompanied by a full rear-projected liquid light show by Joe’s Lights, formerly of the Fillmore East. The jam transforms quickly and beautifully, a series of moves that blur and bend musically to go along with whatever other blurring and bending might be occurring.

GRAEME BOONE: We feel the meter, and now Jerry getting into a new solo. Duple time — one, two, one, two, one, two, duh, duh, duh, duh, duh, duh, duh, duh, duh. Leaving the “Dark Star” progression, Jerry, working his way up; Bob, beautiful chording, A on E minor. Lesh going all over the place, Jerry rising up to E, leaning into the E. Can you hear: three, four; one, two, three, one, two, three — and then leaving that behind? A little bit of chromaticism, Jerry coming down… episode winding down.

JESSE: One of my favorite things about the Dead in this period is the way they could be in outer space and coalesce into a new set of chord changes, with Bill Kreutzmann locking into a new groove to create a new piece of music. This “Dark Star” generates a number of dramatic moments like that.

GRAEME BOONE: Feels like a nice duple meter: one, two, one, two, one, two, one, two, one, two, one, two. Intensity building, Bob jamming on some nice harmonies. It’s a D minor, G vamp — really getting into it. Reminds me of “My Favorite Things” by John Coltrane, that two-chord vamp and the minor. Great foundation for Jerry soloing here. Really nice… Keith, really opening up.

JESSE: If you want to know what happens next, check out Graeme’s presentation. The full version of this “Dark Star” is on both the Steppin’ Out with the Grateful Dead set, as well as the Europe ‘72: The Complete Recordings box set. We’ll return to Graeme in a moment. For the first time in their career, the Dead had their own lighting crew, and that lighting crew brought with them a new trick, one which you better believe they deployed in “Dark Star.” Ken Hunt.

KEN HUNT: At one point, they had a glitter ball. And it came on. Now, I’d never seen a glitter ball in my life, but I can assure you, when that comes on for the first time—and for the sake of argument, I'm going to say that what the number was was “Dark Star”—at that point, the drugs kicked in beautifully. So there’s this glitter ball spinning ‘round; they’re singing this remarkable song, which I knew two versions of, the LP and the single. And it was rather spectacular.

JESSE: Light crew member Ben Haller.

BEN HALLER: That was old vaudeville nightclub stuff. Those are everywhere — you find them in usually sleazy old dance halls, where you pay a dollar and you dance with a girl.

JESSE: It’s true that they’d been around for nearly a half-century, but we have multiple reports of the Dead’s disco ball absolutely destroying minds in Europe. I can imagine it in use here.

GRAEME BOONE: Beautiful sound by Jerry. You can hear Bill picking up the rhythm again. Jerry, tremolo on G, and there we go — beautiful riff from Phil. Great violin-style accompaniment from Bob. It feels like A minor. Lots of energy from Bill, from Keith, from Phil. Nice funky sound. A little bit of G major… each of these harmonies with a different kind of light shining up from the music, and then back to A minor. Back to G. Jerry’s on top of all of it, following everything, often leading, and then back to that great D minor — so important in this jam. [vocalizes D tone]

ADAM GOTLEY: I was there with my sister, her boyfriend, who was reasonably into the Dead and a couple of other people. I think they all glazed over when they heard “Dark Star.” Obviously, it's quite a dark version compared with what they would have heard on Live/Dead. To me, it was absolutely fascinating. I think most of the audience really got into it, but there were obviously some people who just didn't get it basically.

JESSE: Bill Giles.

BILL GILES: The other thing as a pianist that struck me was seeing Keith Godchaux. I hadn’t come across him before at all, really, and I thought he added a lot to the band. If you listen during that “Dark Star,” there’s a piece in the middle, a sort of jazzy piece that Keith leads, really.

JESSE: Like Graeme Boone, Bill Giles has gone deep into this Dark Star, writing his own essay in 2001 titled, “DARK STAR - APRIL 8TH 1972 – A MUSICAL ODD-ESSAY.” Bill also plays in a Dead band, the Grateful Dudes, preparing to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Europe ‘72 this summer with a few other bands at a festival in southern England on the edge of the Cotswolds called Playing on the Farm.

BILL GILES: Truly, it must be one of the greatest pieces of collective improvisation in the late 20th century.

JESSE: For me, and perhaps you, the selling point is what happens near the end of the jam, after Garcia runs through what tapers call the Tiger Jam — basically, when he leans into craziness on the wah-wah pedal while everybody else freaks out. Pull up your beanbag, we’re going to let Graeme coo us through the rest of this beautiful “Dark Star.”

GRAEME BOONE: Super suspenseful chromatic harmony; great action from Keith; amazing from Bill, Phil, Bob — everybody. Jerry, reaching a peak and intensity there at the top of his range. And then something amazing happens: Keith and Bob, leaning onto an A major harmony, suspended but pointing to something new. Jerry picks up on it, the band picks up on it. All of a sudden, we're in A major — one and a two, and a one, two, three, four, and we're off into a great new jam. Great riff from Bob, beautiful support from Keith, and of course, Phil playing his own tune. Where is it gonna go? Little turn, Phil hits a flat seven and a four. It looks like we’re going for a 7-4-1 progression. There we go. Settled into it — 1-7-4-1. And Bob here lays in that chromatic line of the “Mind Left Body Jam.” A little bit of a pause, and then: what’s this? Well, guess what, folks, you’ve entered into a great folk song — “Don’t Let Your Deal Go Down.” [sings lyric] “Don’t let your deal go down, no, no…” — [speaks lyrics] til your last gold dollar is gone.” And there’s the “Mind Left Body” chromatic line from Bob. [vocalizes the harmonic line] Third time through the song… fourth time through… and Bob just leaps right in with “Sugar Magnolia.” The band’s on it in a nanosecond… and we’re off to the races with another great song.

JESSE: Truly one of the all-time great Dead segues. Tune into our Dead Studies stream with Graeme to hear him break down the full version. And then coming out of the end of “Sugar Magnolia,” another all time great Dead segue.

AUDIO: “Sugar Magnolia” [Europe ‘72: The Complete Recordings, Vol. 2, 4/8/72] (7:13-7:17) - [Spotify] [YouTube]

[segues into:]

AUDIO: “Caution (Do Not Stop on Tracks)” [Europe ‘72: The Complete Recordings, Vol. 2, 4/8/72] (0:00-0:20) - [Spotify] [YouTube]

JESSE: Hot diggity. If you’re keeping score at home, that was a very early appearance by the descending motif sometimes called the “Mind Left Body Jam,” which we discussed at length last season during our episode about the band’s shows later in 1972 at St. Louis’s Fox Theatre. Pigpen gets into a little bit of crowd work, but doesn’t lean into his freestyling on this version of “Caution,” it’s mostly just a big showending jam channeling the primal Dead. Pig’s pretty active on the B3 here in conversation with Garcia and everybody.

AUDIO: “Caution (Do Not Stop on Tracks)” [Europe ‘72: The Complete Recordings, Vol. 2, 4/8/72] (11:30-12:00) - [Spotify] [YouTube]

JESSE: Bob White.

BOB WHITE: I think people would have been happy if they’d just carried on past midnight. But venues like Wembley have a real firm cutoff point. It's on the edge of London, or towards the edge, what they call the suburbs. So when people pour out, there’s lots of room for them to go here, there and everywhere — rather than, as can happen in some places, they spew out into a tight street, and it can be very difficult.

CHRIS JONES: Everybody's coming out and they're singing the songs that they know, or they've picked up. That whole Europe thing, there were really so many new songs which we had not heard. They hadn’t been on LP up ‘til then of course. Back in those days, we weren’t swapping tapes and stuff — or maybe a few were, but there wasn’t the big taper system, the brotherhood, sisterhood, going on at the time. So it was just what you could carry in your memory.

SAM CUTLER [4/8/72]: If any of you got any friends that couldn’t come tonight because it was sold out, on May the 16th, on Radio Luxembourg, we’re gonna do a concert for about three hours. I know you can receive Radio Luxembourg here, so it’s on May the 16th we’re gonna play there. Send us some energy — we’ll need it.

BOB WHITE: “Even 24 hours after the event, I'm still overwhelmed. I can't wait to hear the concert on Radio Luxembourg May 16th.” I gave up the diary fairly soon afterwards, because I don't do diaries. That started January the 1st 1972, and the last entry is May the 1st. So I obviously got fed up with it by then. But, having said that, it's nice to go back to it because, in speaking to you guys, in finding the diary—it's always been easy to find—but in reading it again, I've also revisited other things from that period. The bands I liked at the time, other things that were going on. But I can still honestly say the only thing that got four pages out me was the Dead.

JESSE: Archivist David Lemieux.

DAVID LEMIEUX: I was actually working on Steppin’ Out [with the Grateful Dead], the compilation from England, in 2002. And Weir walked into the studio. He said, “Hey, what are you listening to?” I said,” Oh, it’s stuff from Wembley.” He said, “Wembley…” He sits down, and listens to what we were playing. He says , “Man, we played like demons at those shows.” It was nice to hear Bob with a specific memory of the Wembley shows.

JESSE: The next morning, Pigpen was up bright and early at 9:30, writing a long letter to his parents. Sully’s gonna read part of it.

SULLY: “Kensington Palace Hotel, London. Howdy folks — boy, did we knock ‘em dead in London. They leapt up and down, and hollered for more and more, which, according to Sam and Rod, they just don’t do here. The hot English groups don’t get that over here… only in the States. Also, they got about twice the music from one band than they usually get or expect. Lots of good press too.”

“When we’re leaving the concert in the bus, nothing but smiling faces, waving, etc.. Sam keeps saying nothing like us ever happened here before. Says the Danes’ll probably be quieter, but Germans & French go nuts, don’t know about the Swiss.”

“They have Hells Angels here, but I don’t think they’re really up to snuff, not like real American Angels. They ain’t rowdy enough or big enough or tough enough, 2nd class Angels definitely.”

“We’ve got a hemo? Homeo? pathic doctor here & he works wonders with natural remedies (he’s also a Ph.D / MD), one of them is good for ‘on the road cruds,’ sore throat, no energy, colds, digestion, & generally all over good medicine. It comes in powders & tablets & there’s only one chemist shop in the world you can get it, right here, so we’re gonna stock up. It’s also very good preventative medicine. I can’t say the name but it comes from what is commonly called ‘the African poison nut.’ He also uses flowers, leaves, whatever good stuff.”

“Just had breakfast & I think I’ll go back to sleep, it’s still early … time passes … 9:00am dammit! can’t sleep. … Am planning what to do with all my British pounds for Denmark. Wanna buy a radio in Germany, AM-FM-shortwave Blaupunkt or something. You can’t get good music here without your own short-range from Radio Luxembourg. All the government owned stations play slop … Weir wants to buy a car or 10 in Germany.”

“There’s a German lesson on TV in the form of a movie interrupted by the teacher with little lessons. … I’m gettin’ tired of sittin’ ‘round here but no one else’s up yet & woe be unto me to check lest I rouse someone’s ire. … We’re supposed to be guests at a castle in Kent today, but the BBC says the road towards Oxford-Kent is closed, a lorry hit a train bridge, so maybe a back way?”

JESSE: Pigpen spent the day wandering around London.

SULLY: “Went out ‘n got some postcards & wrote on ‘em but forgot the address of the Hells Angels’ clubhouse in NYC. Gotta ask Sam.”

P.S — “I met Christine Keeler last night. Yahoo!”

JESSE: Ah yes, Christine Keeler, who’d caused a major scandal in the UK government a decade earlier. You might ask Bill Kreutzmann about her.

SULLY: “Today’s pack-up day, stuff everything back in & hope it all fits. All gonna carry guitars on the busses and have a hi ol’ time bumpin’ across Europe and meeting people.”

JESSE: Janet Furman.

JANET FURMAN: We didn't drive this truck. There are a bunch of truck drivers that drove the three buses and the recording trucks. So there's a little convoy of those four vehicles, and each one has its own truck driver.

JESSE: Before they left Wembley, though, they’d had to draft a new truck driver. Steve Parish.

STEVE PARISH: Our truck had been driven by an Englishman that we hired in England. Only he got busted before we left the first gig at Wembley, for taking book. He's in the fucking… all day long, this guy was in the fucking telephone booth, and he was taking betting slips and all this shit, and he got arrested right then and there. He’s gone, so we put Winslow in the truck, and he drove it to France. He didn’t know his fuckin’ ass: this boy was raised in Pendleton, Oregon, and had barely been out on the road for a little bit with us. It was like putting the most unsophisticated person to European styles and cultures in a truck with his face up against the road everywhere, man. He just got in fights at every border, and there were borders all over. Arguments, and all kinds of stuff. But anyway, he got the truck there.


JESSE: The Dead were loose in Europe. While much of the gang headed off for Kent, Alan Trist brought Phil Lesh, Jerry Garcia, and Mountain Girl for some cosmic sightseeing.

ALAN TRIST: There were a couple of days off. Particularly Phil and Garcia were very interested in Stonehenge and the other megalithic monuments in England.

JESSE: The collective reading list included “The Art of Memory” by Francis Yates, Fulcanelli’s Mysteries of the Cathedrals, and The View Over Atlantis by John Michel.

ALAN TRIST: John Michel, the English writer who brought to light a lot of the early studies in Earth energies from England. We were reading his book. That was going around, other things were going around. And because I'd been very much a part of my early life in England, I brought a lot of this information to their reading list at that time, in the early ‘70s. In the course of their early part in England, Phil, [Jon] McIntyre, and I think MG met with John Michel. I think I was involved with press — I missed out on that meeting. But later on, John Michel introduced Phil and I to an old antiquarian English society called the Research Into Lost Knowledge Organization, RILKO. And we became members nine and 10. It was very early. I still get their newsletters, and I expect Phil does too. All on early duplicating machines to begin with. Very, very interesting stuff — stalking the ley lines of England.

So I hired a car and I took those two and MG on this one-day ride in which we visited Avery, the artificial hill and Stonehenge, Wells Cathedral. We climb to the top of… it’s not Avery, I’m forgetting the name of conical Hill in England, this sort of pyramid shape [Silbury Hill] — which was amazing. We climbed on top of it, so that was quite a climb.

JESSE: In his memoir Searching For the Sound, Phil Lesh wrote about their visit to Glastonbury Tor. “Surmounted by a tower dedicated to the archangel Michael, it still shows traces of a ritual path spiraling up and around the sides of the hill; it is this labyrinth that Jerry, M.G., and I found ourselves treading as we climbed laboriously toward the top. The path was very steep; at each doubling back of the maze, one of us would cut corners and climb up to the next level, laughing at the irony of yet again taking shortcuts to spiritual awareness. It’s said that in olden times pilgrims would dance and sing their way up this path as a penitential meditation; it’s pretty difficult, especially for out-of-shape hippies, to emulate that degree of commitment.”

ALAN TRIST: Then we went and had lunch at Wells Cathedral in the market square. That was so interesting, because this was a kind of a grand hotel, with linen and silver and so on. And our table was right next to whether the Bishop of Wells was having a conference with his master of the fabric — which is to say, the fabric being the stonework for the cathedral is made of. In other words, the architect who… so, they were discussing an issue about repair of the cathedral. And here were the four of us, hairy guys, and the prelate of the Church of England and his architect right next to us, just three or four feet away. It was a great contrast and quite beautiful actually. We went on to Stonehenge and Avery, a couple of other smaller megalithic monuments. Got back very late.

MOUNTAIN GIRL: Phil and Alan and Jerry and I, I think we rented a car and went and drove all around in there and took the walk up to Stonehenge. Nowadays, you can't walk up there. They keep it fenced off. But in those magical moments, we were able to… we weren't able to go look at them up close. It was a beautiful day too — it wasn't raining, really nice. I can't remember what we were ingesting that day, but it was something nice. We were wandering amongst the pillars — these ancient thingies that people had set up there. They're really big, is the lesson to take away. These stones they're talking about at Stonehenge are enormous, and much bigger than you think they are. If you've only seen them in a picture. They’re colossal. It was just magical. And there was nobody else there. We really had it all to ourselves. That was pretty good.

ALAN TRIST: In those days, it was completely open. There was a tourist building there at some point, but there was no restriction or access to the site. Just as it was In Egypt, when we went there — you could still go into the Great Pyramid in ‘78 without any trouble.

MOUNTAIN GIRL: Of course Alan, who is somebody who studies all this stuff, he's telling us about the nine different theories about how they got there. So we’re getting all the theories about Stonehenge that they had actually — and he thought they had actually carried them, somehow, from the quarry, which was really far away. Because they can trace the rock by its composition and detail, back to where it was quarry. All of these amazing details — we just filled up on great English details, the mysteries of that country. It's mysterious. Didn't we go up to Scotland after that? Yes, we did. We went to the place where — Rosicrucian, no… it's a church there that's really, really old. Up in northern England, we went and looked at that. So it was a little bit of an extra few miles on our tour.

ALAN TRIST: In some way, I wouldn't say that this was the genesis of Egypt, but it was connected to that idea that places of power, which those megalithic monuments in England are, and which the permit is, were things that were interesting to the band. Because a place of power is going to influence the musical power that they bring to that site. They were always curious about how the interaction would occur in the invisible domain, the domain of Earth energies. So that's why they were so interested to go and do that

Bozos & Bolos

JESSE: The next morning it was time for the Europe ‘72 tour to hit the road. Pretty much everybody would remember the buses. Pigpen noted the trip in his letter home. It’s a pretty long ride to Newcastle, so we leave at 9:30am the 10th, play the 11th, & then ferry to Denmark, overnight voyage.”

MOUNTAIN GIRL: I didn't bring the kids. It didn't seem like what we needed to do. Because we were going to be traveling by buses, and… no kids.

JESSE: Rosie McGee was along for the ride. This is from her 2014 conversation with David Gans for the great book, This Is All A Dream We Dreamed.

ROSIE McGEE: There were two buses, we drove all over. It was a two and a half months tour — it was a very, very long time. And again, it was the family, the tribal thing, on the road. That was sweet, to have that happen, again. It was a little bit of a different cast of characters. There was a few people that were no longer there, and other people that came into it. But it was just a lot of fun.

JESSE: Ben Haller.

BEN HALLER: We traveled in two buses. For some reason, one bus had a bar, and the other bus had a bathroom, number one. Number two, the two drivers came from different countries, and couldn't really talk to one another — and we really couldn't talk to them. But we kind of made it around and every once in a while, we stopped, so people go from one bus to get a drink, and the others can go to the other bus to unload a drink.

JESSE: Or as Pigpen described them in his letter home: “A bit of irony, the fancy, fast coach with the bar hasn’t got a john, the other does, but no bar. All you drinkers, good luck... It’s all backwards. Imagine riding in a bus, facing rear, and on the wrong side of the road!”

SAM CUTLER: The two buses divided into the raucous one and the one that was slightly quieter. So the people who wanted to kind of be a bit wild were in one and the people who are a bit more… I don't want to use the word sophisticated. But, people who read books for example, they’re gonna be on the book reading bus.

MOUNTAIN GIRL: Somebody who'd been to the costume store had bought a bunch of clown masks. And we had Bozos. So we were going everywhere in two buses, and our bus was the Bozo bus. And so we only had Bozos on our bus.

AUDIO: “Side A” [Firesign Theater, I Think We’re All Bozos On This Bus] (5:13-5:34) [YouTube]

JESSE: That was the Firesign Theater, from their classic surrealist 1971 LP, I Think We’re All Bozos On This Bus. Once there were bozo masks and a bus involved, it was a pretty easy jump to declare themselves the Bozo bus.

MOUNTAIN GIRL: So this was just something to do on the long bus rides. Many jokes. Many jokes about the Bozos.

JESSE: But it took somebody else, probably Robert Hunter, to make the next jump. If there were Bozos on this bus, who was that riding on the other bus?

MOUNTAIN GIRL: The Bolos were the other bus. We called them the Bolos, they didn’t like that and threw stuff at us and shit. Some people needed to sleep. I think our bus was not that one. No sleeping.

JESSE: Alan Trist.

ALAN TRIST: I didn't have an ear to wherever that conversation was going down. I mean, the Bozo and Bolo buses, there was some interaction between them, in terms of people swapping from one to another. But I remember the Bozo bus had a lot of band members and Hunter, and I was on there. And the Bolo bus had a lot of the crew, Billy was there. But then people would go back and forth. After all, we were there for weeks. So I don't remember it happening on the buses.

JESSE: As Robert Hunter described it to Blair Jackson, “The Bozo bus was for people who wanted to be tripping out and raving all the time. The Bolo bus was people who preferred to sink totally into their own neuroses, or just sleep.”

MOUNTAIN GIRL: The Bozo bus was Bill Candelario, and Steve Parish, of course, who sat directly behind us and it just made hilarious comments at all times. So we had a pretty good-sized busload. More of the roadies were on the other bus; most of the band was on our bus. Pigpen was on our bus, and Pigpen was not doing well. We were pretty worried about him. His girlfriend… I don't think his girlfriend could come with them on that trip. She just… maybe it didn't happen, but he wasn't feeling good. He didn't get over whatever it was either. So that quieted us down a few times — he’d bitch us out, he’d yell, he’d say, “Now you guys, shut up!” [laughs] But it was a rough ride. Their highways were in a different state from what they're in now. Luckily, our bus drivers weren't super capable and we didn't go off the road — just almost once up there and Switzerland. Well, their roads are not made for big tour buses, frankly.

JESSE: This is from David Gans and Marty Martinez’s great 1995 interview with Phil Lesh and Bob Weir.

PHIL LESH [9/95]: The Bozo bus considered themselves the bozos, and they didn't name the Bolos until later.

BOB WEIR [9/95]: We had the Bozo bus whistling club, as I recall…

PHIL LESH [9/95]: I was on the Bolo bus myself, so…

MARTY MARTINEZ [9/95]: Were the Bolos more civilized than the bozos?

PHIL LESH [9/95]: It was just quieter. You can sleep on the Bolo Bus.

ALAN TRIST: There was definitely a self-consciousness of that — of: are you a Bozo or a Bolo, or are you different today, are your Bozo today and a Bolo tomorrow. It was a great running joke that we had between us. Of course, you’ve seen the photographs where we all dressed up in masks to scare the locals as the buses went by.

DONNA JEAN GODCHAUX-MACKAY: Alan Trist and Bob Mathews and I called it the “business of isness.” We would spend hours, just expounding—just stoned out of our heads, of course— just deconstructing the universe and putting it back together. And we call it the business of isness. And we just had so much fun with that. I was on the book that Francis and Ramrod were on. Because they had Rudso, and he was six months old. So there was a baby on the bus. So whatever bus they were on, I was on.

JESSE: So, Sam Cutler, were you on the Bozo bus or the Bolo bus?

SAM CUTLER: A tour manager’s allowed to be on any bus he fucking likes, because he organized the bus in the first place! Nobody would tell me what bus to get on or off.

MOUNTAIN GIRL: What we had was Parish and Candelario sitting directly behind us and they just… they never stopped. They were like a power comedy couple: they couldn't stop themselves, they were out of control. That was so funny. It was a happy time. We really had a happy time, when people weren't completely wiped out.

JESSE: And soon the Bozos got religion, thanks to Parish and Garcia’s memory of an earlier comedy duo.

AUDIO: “If We Supervised Radio” [Stoopnagle & Budd, 3/15/35] (1:21-1:32)

JESSE: That was the 1930s comedy team known as Col. Stoopnagle and Budd, who appeared on radio and were spun off into a cartoon series. Stoopnagle preached what he called “Stoopnocracy.”

STEVE PARISH: Colonel Stoopnagle — we all used to joke about that, because it was so weird. We liked all the weird shit. So Jerry and I would sit for hours and talk about weird shit. We would go, “Yeah, Stoopnocracy is peachy.”

MOUNTAIN GIRL: So Hunter was just inventing a sort of a science fiction, proto-religion — this would be the mindset of a group of people who had traveled together and worship together. We would come up with this thing called Hypnocracy. This is spelled h-y-p-n-o-c-r-a-c-y. You could add, make that last “c” a “z” if you want: Hypnocrazy.

STEVE PARISH: That was Hunter that came up with the Hypnocracy shit. It’s a little known fact, but when I first came around the band, there were still problems with Scientology. Some people had gotten involved with that — Nelson, and Hunter. And so we’re still calling up at the studio all the time and trying their bullshit. But we didn't give a fuck and would tell him off, all that. But I think it had something to do with that a little bit, the Hypnocracy thing — to just poke fun at all “nocracies,” and hypocrisy, and hypocrites and liars and cheaters and phonies and one-way johnnys, and double-backings… all that shit.

MOUNTAIN GIRL: You weren't supposed to look for hypnocracy, it would find you.

JESSE: And the patron saint of Hypnocracy was the vast and unknowable St. Dilbert.

DAVID GANS [9/95]: So who was St. Dilbert anyway?

BOB WEIR [9/95]: A mythical figure.

PHIL LESH [9/95]: Never to see the light of day. There actually was no St. Dilbert.

DAVID GANS [9/95]: It's just this guy that Hunter —

PHIL LESH [9/95]: There's no guy… there’s no guy. St. Dilbert is a state of mind.

BOB WEIR [9/95]: Have you accepted St. Dilbert into your heart? He walks with me now.

PHIL LESH [9/95]: He’s with me as we speak…

BOB WEIR [9/95]: My roadie, my friend, my light.

ALAN TRIST: St. Dilbert, he did have a presence for sure. On that tour, you didn’t want to mess with St. Dilbert. But you didn't know what kind of round the back curve you'd get at the same time. That was St. Dilbert.


JESSE: By the time the Bozos and Bolos pulled into Newcastle, a new consciousness had been created. Though their itinerary promised them a rehearsal at the venue, that would prove impossible. Tony Bennett was booked at Newcastle City Hall for early and late shows. They checked into the Gosforth Park Hotel and called it a night. Maybe. To talk about the Dead in Newcastle and what it was like to be a Dead fan in the north of England, please welcome Richard Parkinson.

RICHARD PARKINSON: I grew up in a town called Carlisle, which you'll know from “Terrapin Station.”

AUDIO: “Terrapin Station” [Terrapin Station] (0:48-1:05) - [Spotify] [YouTube]

JESSE: And which Robert Hunter knew from the Lady of Carlisle, which he likely learned from the New Lost City Ramblers and performed on his 1980 solo album Jack O’ Roses.

AUDIO: “Lady of Carlisle” [Robert Hunter, Jack O’ Roses] (0:00-0:24)

RICHARD PARKINSON: Carlisle is a sort of small market town right in the northwest of England, and Newcastle is the nearest, largest place, and that's on the opposite coast. Albeit an opposite coast, it's only sort of 60, 70 miles away, and the Roman wall links them. Carlisle was pretty isolated. Even the music radio, which was sort of pretty bland pop AM [signal], couldn't make it through the mountains to us. So you could only pick up the signal about 10 [or] 12 o'clock at night. Occasionally you'd pick up American Forces Network, Radio Luxembourg, those sort of things. But that was about it. It really was pretty isolated. So you tended to hear about stuff, either because you're just hanging in a record store and you see a cover, you think, “Looks cool.” Or we’re forever borrowing stuff from one another. The first one I actually owned was the first Garcia solo record, which I won from a radio contest. That was probably a couple months before the concert.

I was trying to think of a way to describe it in U.S. terms, but honestly, I don’t think you can, because you’ve got bigger towns than we ever had. This is like a sheep and railway town in the middle of nowhere — but with a lot of history. But at the same time, just completely vacant of anything going on. We’d see stuff on the TV news about San Francisco. The idea of California, when you’re sitting in rainy, drizzly northwest England—free shows taking place in the park, with everyone hanging out—where there might be one gig every three months in town, is worlds apart.

I was 15 when I went to the City Hall show. This is my first time seeing a show out anywhere, apart from local [shows]. I saw Black Sabbath, which was probably the biggest rock and roll show I've been to before the Dead. They actually started out in our town.

AUDIO: “Morning Dew” [Mythology, Silloth 1968, 7/13/68] (0:04-0:34)

JESSE: That was Tony Iommi and Bill Ward’s early band Mythology from the Live at Queens Hotel release, doing their version of Bonnie Dobson’s “Morning Dew.” They’d soon morph into Black Sabbath.

RICHARD PARKINSON: Before “Paranoid,” which was a breakthrough record here, they signed up to do a dance at my school. For some tiny, chicken-feed amount of money. But they honored the gig, when they could have just canned it and gone off and made a load more playing a big room, but they did it.

JESSE: But they did have a train.

RICHARD PARKINSON: Carlisle’s a railway town, Newcastle’s got a big railway hub. There’s a line that goes through the valley between the two. It’s not particularly busy — it’s about a 90 minute train ride for a 60-mile journey, not particularly fast. It was like two worlds meeting. You travel 60 miles from the back of beyond into a city that was a big city by our standards. It still is, pretty much… it’s got a quarter million population, but not huge. You sort of walk up the streets to City Hall, which is 1,500, 2,000 capacity. It’s not a big room by any means. I went to university in Newcastle later, so I saw a lot of gigs there. And then suddenly, there's all these sort of weird people around. When you're 15, you already feel like a bit of a hick, and when you're from a small town, coming to the big city, you feel like a doubly hick. But we were there, we had our tickets — in we went.

JESSE: Something to clarify, while the venue is called Newcastle City Hall, it’s different from the American usage of City Hall.

RICHARD PARKINSON: Newcastle, they have a Civic Center, which is what you might call a City Hall, where the Council sits. The City Hall is typically a municipal performance place — they're for plays, for choirs, for small orchestral concerts. These are things that [were] part of the city, sort of a cultural center for the citizens. They tend to be relatively small, because I suppose originally they had been designed for the kind of people who would have time to go to recitals. The [Bob] Dylan movie, Dont Look Back, part of that is at Newcastle City Hall. He gets to meet the mayor.

HIGH SHERIFF’S LADY [Dont Look Back, 1965/1967]: I am the sheriff’s lady, and I’ve come to say how very happy we are to have you here, and I hope you have a very successful night because everybody loves you — there’s thousands outside! These are my three boys, David, Steven and Steven. And they think you’re so marvelous that they’ve left all their exam papers—they’ve got terribly important exams, and they’ve left everything to come and listen to you.

BOB DYLAN [Dont Look Back, 1965/1967]: Ah, okay…

JESSE: David Lemieux.

DAVID LEMIEUX: They opened up with an arena, and then they go to Newcastle City Hall. It was one of these venues… and this is why I always encourage people to view the venues online before they listen to a show, to get that sense [of] what the venue was like. This is a beautiful, I think, 2,000 seat venue, and this is a show where I felt, in listening to it, that the Grateful Dead were faced with adversity for the first time, probably in years. London felt like a home show, because [it was] a big arena. London… it's not in New York, but if you're going to go to Europe, it’s as close to New York energy as you're going to get. Newcastle… I’ve been to Newcastle, and it’s a rough city. Hard partiers, hard drinkers. It’s not New York City in Europe, and it’s a small venue. So the adversity, what I found is that the show in Newcastle, they play it with a bit more of an edge.

JESSE: Bob Weir would later say the Newcastle show featured “the coldest, stiffest audience I’ve ever played for.” Alan Trist.

ALAN TRIST: The thing I remember about Newcastle… I have this image of the hall. They had this huge pipe organ, right behind the stage. I'm not sure quite why, because I don't think it was a church; as such, it wasn't a church organ. But it was… what a backdrop for the stage, this gilt organ. It wasn’t a particularly big hall, but the organ filled it out visually. I remember the seating, and it was just an old-timey hall of some kind. One of the first, the band visited many of those in europe. Particularly in Germany and Holland, places like that.

JESSE: There are some great photos of the band in Newcastle, including a rare shot of Jerry Garcia and a bottle of beer — a Newcastle, of course. Enthusiasts might remember this as the avatar of our late buddy Thoughts on the Dead.

DAVID LEMIEUX: It feels like a working class night in northern England. If you watch the movie, Saturday Night and Sunday Morning with Albert Finney—that’s, I think, Manchester—and you get that vibe of that working-class northern England thing. That’s the feeling I get from that show.

RICHARD PARKINSON: It was just fantastic. I mean, they just sort of stepped out there. It was like San Francisco was like some completely different planet — and here it was in conjunction on Northumberland Road in Newcastle-upon-Tyne. It was the sense of possibility that was landing as well. It was the window.

AUDIO: “Greatest Story Ever Told” [Europe ‘72: The Complete Recordings, Vol. 3, 4/11/72] (0:00-0:24) - [Spotify] [YouTube]

RICHARD PARKINSON: My overwhelming memory, I suppose, [was] Pigpen. Which is odd, because you wouldn't normally think of Pigpen as being the center, but [he] just looked incredibly cool — with the hat, and the motorcycle jacket, and the sewn-off denim jacket. This first set particularly has got quite a lot of Pigpen in it, which is probably why it sort of came through. I think the opener of the second set as well.

AUDIO: “Good Lovin’” [Europe ‘72: The Complete Recordings, Vol. 3, 4/11/72] (1:16-1:34) [Spotify] [YouTube]

RICHARD PARKINSON: The Dead would have that sort of thing where, for a time, they’re like individuals all playing, and then they go off in different spaces. But sometimes, it just all comes together. The point where they all stepped up to the microphone to do the opening of “Truckin’” was one of those points. It was a physical convergence and a musical convergence simultaneously.

AUDIO: “Truckin” [Europe ‘72: The Complete Recordings, Vol. 3, 4/11/72] (0:18-0:40) - [Spotify] [YouTube]

JESSE: Though “Truckin’” had always boogied, it was only during the shows right before departure that it turned into a proper jam song, where it got out and weird. The Newcastle show also has something else that might sound familiar to Deadcast listeners.

AUDIO: “The Other One” [Europe ‘72: The Complete Recordings, Vol. 3, 4/11/72] (0:00-0:07) [Spotify] [YouTube]

JESSE: It’s the Good Ol’ Grateful Deadcast intro, you guessed it. Rosie McGee has a good story about this show. This is from the audiobook of her great memoir, Dancing With the Dead, available from Thanks, Rosie.

ROSIE McGEE [Dancing With the Dead, Chapter 9]: The concert hall there was relatively small, but it was packed. During the show, I decided to go out into the audience and sit in the balcony. When I got to the hallway door, I saw a guard talking with an older lady, obviously a local. The guard stopped me and said, “Hey, this lady wants to come backstage. Will you talk to her?” I pulled the lady aside into the vestibule and asked how I could help her. “My son is Eric Burdon of The Animals. Do you know him?” Much to her delight, I did, having spent a couple of days with him and his band when they were renting a place in LA's Laurel Canyon. I asked her why she wanted to go backstage. Was she looking for someone in particular? “Oh no. I just thought someone back there would know my son and I was right. You do.” She was a very nice lady, and since I was headed out to the balcony, I invited her to come with me rather than go backstage, where there was nothing going on. We found perfect seats a few rows back from the railing and we sat together through the rest of the set. At one point, she reached over and took my hand and I looked over at her. Knowing she couldn't be heard above the music, she mouthed the words: “They're very good, you know,” and then smiled and patted my hand.

RICHARD PARKINSON: It was just a fantastic experience. Everybody was up and dancing. It's quite difficult to do that, because the seating is pretty narrow. So you can either go out into the aisles, which wasn't really practical — the aisles are pretty narrow there as well. Or people would just stand up and dance at their seats, but then you're sort of squashed into a relatively small piece of space, in between the seat back and the back of the seat in front.

JESSE: Getting audiences up and dancing would be a challenge across the Continent, but it worked in Newcastle.

RICHARD PARKINSON: What I remember it's getting a little bit anxious as the show continued, because I think they came off at about 10 after 12, and our last train went at 12:30. We tore down the street and just made it to the station, and just dived on the train. If we missed that one, the next one was the milk train at six in the morning.

JESSE: But they made it. Though it would be logical for the Dead to sail for Denmark from Newcastle, and several people remember doing that, it seems the two buses actually headed South, stopping by Kings College Chapel in Cambridge on Sunday afternoon en route to the overnight ferry from Ipswich. Or maybe the buses split up. Maybe the Europe ‘72 tour happened on multiple timelines simultaneously and our interviewees have convened on this one. Feel free to hold that thought in mind as we proceed through these episodes.

Phil Lesh wrote in his memoir, “the buses drove onto a monster ferryboat, and I disembarked to straggle up to my stateroom. The voyage was to be overnight, and since the rooms were cramped and airless, I ended up standing at the stern rail with my roadie, Kidd, watching the sun sink into the mist, generating richer and richer bands of color beyond the flocks of seagulls following the ship.”

AUDIO: “The Other One” [Europe ‘72: The Complete Recordings, Vol. 3, 4/11/72] (continued from above) - [Spotify] [YouTube]